Rolling Out a Rosenquist

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

James Rosenquist at Gemini G.E.L.

September 8, 2011

And now that we are up and running in Chelsea, our gallery drawers are once again filling up with proofs of the latest editions coming out of the Gemini G.E.L. workshop.  One new arrival is James Rosenquist’s The Xenophobic Movie Director or Our Foreign Policy.

Rosenquist and Master Printer James Reid

Rosenquist visited Los Angeles at the beginning of the year to escape New York’s dreary weather and begin his first collaboration with Gemini in over a decade.  This past summer, the workshop had the pleasure of hosting the artist’s daughter (and current Rhode Island School of Design art student) Lily Rosenquist, for a brief printmaking internship, and in January, Master Printer James Reid was eager to begin collaborating with the elder Rosenquist.

The imagery in this new print references a 2004 painting of the same title measuring over 13 feet.  Given the scale of this lithograph, 58” in length by 25″ high, several of the colored lithographic plates had to be split into more than one plate in order to facilitate consistent hand-printing.  Rosenquist mixed each color ink to his exact specification, and this complex print was resolved with 18 runs through the press.

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

Always engaged with social and ecological issues, Rosenquist has paired iconic symbols of the American landscape with references to world affairs, reiterating his message by the hand-written title across the lower margin.  Rosenquist’s printmaking continues to illuminate the artist’s highly-charged, deconstructive style and vibrant coloring with an airbrushed quality, derived from his experience as a billboard painter.  This impressive lithograph made its public debut at Art Basel 42 and can be viewed in our gallery at 465 West 23rd Street.

Tuttle tries his hand at clay

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Richard Tuttle at Gemini artists' workshop

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

 June 29, 2011

After a successful etching collaboration in 2009, Gemini welcomed Richard Tuttle’s return to the Los Angeles workshop this month with open arms.  Inspired to study the dynamics of clay in Southern California, Tuttle was interested in fabricating editioned tiles.  The project, and Tuttle himself, was certainly influenced by the work of Peter Voulkos and Ken Price, founder and student of the ceramics department at Otis College, respectively.  Also an inspiration to Tuttle was Sidney, as he spent years laboring over a potter’s wheel in night school and was a classmate of Elsa Rady’s at Chouinard Art Institute, now known as Cal Arts.  Much of the important and vibrant history of clay in Los Angeles will be explored as part of the Getty Center’s Pacific Standard Time, at an exhibition called Clay’s Tectonic Shift at Scripps College opening in early January 2012.

During Tuttle’s visit to Los Angeles, celebrated photographer and LA native Jim McHugh stopped by the workshop and conversed with the artist while snapping a few portraits, and Tuttle also met with Print Curator Louis Marchesano while exploring the exhibition, Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings, at the Getty Museum.  Understandably, Tuttle was intent on seeing this terrific show, as watercolor is regarded as one of the most challenging artistic techniques and certainly one that Tuttle has tackled in his unique works.  Its liquid nature is capable of extraordinary effects of luminosity, but is often challenging for an artist to control.  The exhibition presents works of the 1700s and 1800s by some of the greatest British masters of the medium, including Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, and William Blake, as well as an installation of three Yorkshire countryside watercolors by contemporary British artist David Hockney, bringing the tradition of the watercolor into the present day.

Tuttle’s clay project at Gemini should be resolved shortly and will likely consist of six series of tiles, each with black slip glazing, hand painted by the artist.  It is with great anticipation that we look forward to presenting this work in New York later this year.

The Art of Saying Thank You

May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Handmade cards by Bigs and Littles

May 21, 2011

The Gemini workshop opened its doors on a Saturday afternoon to nine “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters, an agency that matches mentors with at-risk youth in Los Angeles.  The Littles, ranging from 9 to 14 years old and accompanied by their Big Brother or Big Sister, learned to make screenprints and were taught creative ways of expressing appreciation during a workshop titled “The Art of Saying Thank You.”  The workshop was led by Joni (who has been a BBBS Board member since 1995), Gemini Master Printer Jim Reid and Mindy L. Zasloff, President of the human resources consulting firm, People Skills Are An Art.

The Bigs and Littles took a quick tour of the workshop before getting down to business with Jim Reid in the screenprinting shop.  As each person stepped up to the press to pull a couple impression from a screen, the group cheerfully applauded each successful print pulled.  Mindy then guided the Bigs and Littles through the process of writing a thoughtful note expressing thanks or what it means to have been matched.  Once the screenprints were cut down to the size of a folded note-card, the Bigs and Littles embellished them with watercoloring, rubber-stamped images, bits of colored construction paper and colorful stickers.  The day was a resounding success  –  the matches had an exceptionally fun day, and the cards produced will be used for expressing gratitude to the agency’s major donors.

Hot off the Gemini Press

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

April 22, 2011

We don’t always stop the presses to celebrate the artist collaborations at the Gemini workshop, except for the occasional Baskin Robbins ice cream cake from our friend Abel Eljam, because the printers hardly skip a beat when one artist departs, furiously working to print an edition before another artist arrives.  For example, by the end of this month Gemini will have hosted four out of town artists this spring – James Rosenquist, Sophie Calle, Daniel Buren and Joel Shapiro.

Gemini GEL at Joni Moisant Weyl is proud to display new and recent Gemini publications by John Baldessari, Jonathan Borofsky, Ann Hamilton and Richard Serra.   Each artist’s project at Gemini could not be more different – from lithography and screenprinting to etching to constructions that combine printmaking with fabric and bamboo.  These four artists are a perfect representation of the Gemini ‘can-do’ spirit and the diverse specialties of our printing staff.

John Baldessari’s Nose/Silhouette series began with a party!  The Gemini workshop printed a photographed nose on fields of color which were made into masks and used as place settings for a dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut.  The dinner followed the opening of Baldessari’s spectacular exhibition at LACMA, Pure Beauty, and guests, along with the artist, had great fun posing with the masks.  Gemini and the artist resolved to make the images into a series of editioned prints.

John Baldessari with Joni Weyl and Sidney Felsen at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut, 2010.

Jonathan Borofsky visited the Gemini workshop back in 2008, working with text on Mylar.  In 2010 his lithograph God is a Feeling was finally resolved, as was a screenprint of words from his mother:

“Several days before my mother died, I was sitting at her bedside – just talking about things.  At one point I casually asked her if she had any words she wanted to leave behind.  Without taking any time to think about it, she answered ‘Be Happy, Do the Best You Can, Be Good and Kind’.”   – Borofsky

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2010)

Ann Hamilton made a batch of party hats in honor of Sidney Felsen’s 85th birthday in September of 2009.  These small lithographs with collaged fabric to be used as string were just the beginning of her juxtaposition of printmaking and fabric.  The sheets of lithography became larger and the process of collaging fabric more complex as ciliary was formed.

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2010)

Each ciliary begins with lithography on eight sheets of a creamy Japanese paper, Mitsumata.  Added to the paper panels is a strip of fabric, adhered to one edge.  A narrow accordion fold is applied, and bamboo ribs and hardwood dowels reinforce the folds on the verso.

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen  © 2010)

(Photograph by Chris Santa Maria)

It is impossible to visit the Gemini workshop without noticing the presence of Richard Serra.  Serra has tirelessly pushed the boundaries of printmaking beyond the scale even the Gemini printers might have thought possible, conveying the weight and monumentality of his celebrated sculptural works onto a thin sheet of paper.  In recent years Serra’s etching have grown to upwards of 85 inches, but these latest collaborations present a classic Serra study of the curve on an intimate scale.  The series of 13 Junction prints, each measuring 16 x 18 inches, render various torque ellipse forms in concentrated, untidy etchings.

Printer Isaac Osher editioning Serra Junction #2 at Gemini workshop

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

Daniel Buren visits the Gemini workshop

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Daniel Buren at Gemini artists’ workshop

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

April 20, 2011

Today was the last full day in Los Angeles for French artist Daniel Buren, and he spent it busily working at the Gemini workshop, collaborating with Master Printers James Reid and Richard Kaz.  Buren arrived in Los Angeles a week earlier, and enjoyed staying at the home of Gemini co-owners Elyse and Stanley Grinstein while creating what promises to be an exciting project.  There is still a lot of experimentation and proofing to be done before the project is resolved, but as with his 1989 Gemini collaboration, Buren is developing a series in which each individual work will be composed of a unique configuration of striped square elements.  To say “bon voyage” to Daniel and his wife Chantal, Sidney and I took them to a lovely dinner at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s traditional French bistro in Beverly Hills.


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